Cowboy Dances

A collection of Traditional Western Square Dances By Lloyd Shaw

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old-time orchestra cannot be found it is almost best to limit oneself to a good pianist, who is in sympathy with the old jigs and reels and willing to try for the real old-time flavor.
There are many old-time books of, music. Perhaps as good as any for the pianist to begin with is the Pioneer Collection of Old Time Dances, published by the Paull-Pioneer Music Corporation. But she must remember that one simple old tune of eight or sixteen bars will have to be repeated through all the seven or eight minutes it takes to dance a square, with whatever variation that she can invent. Or if she must, she can modulate into another tune now and then in the middle of a dance.
But not so with the old-time musicians. When I call a dance, most of my fiddlers ask me to let them know each "call" just before I call it, because they want to be pre­pared to give that call the old tune which their experience has taught them is best for it. And they hold that tune through to the bitter end of the call. For the special old-time round dances, or couple dances, such as the varsouvi-anna, the schottische, and the polka, there is, of course, special music.
But we have gone a long way from our dinner party and their discussion of the origins of the Western square. By now they will be wanting to know just how a Western dance is done. If they get really interested, it may be necessary to place cubes of sugar on the table in a sample square and maneuver them around through some sweet little dance. But a real discussion of the figure and steps of the dance had better wait until the first real dance, when we can get a set of dancers out on the floor to demonstrate it all for them.

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